A Personal Point of View About Civil War Causes


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#22

Joshism

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#26
Welcome.

I think the Civil War has something important in common with World War 1: leading up to the war compromises were made which fostered lasting resentment and regret on both sides. Many came to believe compromise was weakness and a mistake.

But in the US all the compromises hinged on the same issue: slavery.
 
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#29
Welcome. I believe John C. Calhoun's speech illustrates your point

The “positive good” speech of February 6, 1837,

However sound the great body of the non-slaveholding States are at present, in the course of a few years they will be succeeded by those who will have been taught to hate the people and institutions of nearly one half of the Union, with a hatred more deadly than one hostile nation ever entertained toward another.

But let me not be understood as admitting, even by implication, that the existing relations between the two races in the slaveholding States is an evil:–far otherwise; I hold it to be a good, as it has thus far proved itself to be to both, and will continue to prove so if not disturbed by the fell spirit of abolition. I appeal to facts. Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually.


Demonizing those with an opposing point of view and claiming unique virtues for those who agree with you is absolutely polarizing.
Thanks for sharing Calhoun's speech.I had never run across it before.
I suppose if some, who have only a casual interest in history,can make the wars occurrence be over a single issue, it can then neatly fit into the narrow political narrative some wish to advance.
I have always believed that the war was mainly a result of the seeds of extreme partisanship,lack of respect and refusal to compromise.To blame the justifying cause ie: slavery,states rights,territorial expansion, tariffs,etc.misses the point. Agitation and extremism became more and more commonplace and became fertile ground for revolution.
One can track these issues through the number of compromises attempted by the Congress's of the 1830s,40s and early 1850s, coming to a crescendo with the savage beating of Senator Edwin Sumner by Preston Brookes on the Senate floor,while armed parisan Senate members prevented collegues from coming to his aid.
Edited.
If we think that we have "progressed" beyond the point of discussion about that type of insidious partisanship and hate,time will most assuredly tell.
Thanks for sharing Calhoun's speech. It speaks directly to the point. In my many years of study of this subject period, I have never run across his words. You can read for a lifetime and always find something new.
 
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#30
View attachment 292842
And, from our Four-footed Friends of the Civil War.... View attachment 292843
___________________________________​

"I have always believed that the war was mainly a result of the seeds of extreme partisanship,lack of respect and refusal to compromise."

Agreed. But, that's only a partial, and far too simplistic explanation. Those toxic attitudes did not crop up out of nothingness. What was (were) the issue(s) that inspired them? There are immediate causes, proximate causes, ultimate causes, etc: your supposition is none of those.

I would argue there is only one root cause, which, if removed from the equation, there would have been no "lack of respect and refusal to compromise," no secession, no Civil War.
Even today there is probably different view points depending on our own historical perspectives.
I have a number of anscestors(3) that fought in Ohio regiments in the Civil War. One was wounded at Gettysburg and 1 killed at the Wilderness. From family stories, I don't believe any of them were abolitionists but I don't know that for sure. Two anscestors were Irish and subject to the racism and religious discrimination of the day. They were all pretty much dirt farmers, scratching out a living on the land.
I doubt they were very political but they fought,bled and died when called upon to defend their country. To them, I doubt the war was mainly about slavery.
It is not hard to believe that most southern boys thought much different. Most of them were just kids. The war was the biggest thing that would happen in their lives.Consequently, they built monuments north and south to honor their participation in it.
Edited. Monument discussion and modern politics.
If our ancestors could come back, I am not sure they would understand.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!
 
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John Hartwell

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#31
Well, for most northerners the war was never "about" the abolition of slavery. It was "about" the ending of secession. For the South, it was primarily "about" perceived threats (on the part of slave owners) to the very existence of slavery (along with a few other relatively insignificant points of disagreement). In the course of the war, emancipation came to be recognized as the most powerful weapon in ending secession. It was also the only redeeming factor in the whole bloody, destructive mess.
 
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#32
Well, for most northerners the war was never "about" the abolition of slavery. It was "about" the ending of secession. For the South, it was primarily "about" perceived threats (on the part of slave owners) to the very existence of slavery (along with a few other relatively insignificant points of disagreement). In the course of the war, emancipation came to be recognized as the most powerful weapon in ending secession. It was also the only redeeming factor in the whole bloody, destructive mess.
I would add that for most(?) northerners of the time, the preservation of the Union was a great outcome. As the historian Gary Gallagher has noted, most people today don't understand or don't get the importance of "Union" to contemporary Northerners, but it was a big deal to them, in his opinion.
 
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#33
1) Certain states began to secede after Lincoln was elected. Why did they secede then, and not before?

2) Exactly what compromises were there to make that had not been made? That could not have been made going forward?

- Alan
I believe that the South Carolina had a continual discussion regarding secession in the 30 years preceding Lincoln's election. There is little doubt that there was a move to prevent compromise by factions within the Democratic party, well before the election of 1860. As fate would have it,the parties convention was held in Charleston SC. The move to split the party at that convention was deliberate and calculated to prevent Douglas's nomination and potential to compromise. They prevented his nomination by walking out. That there was collusion among lower south delegates to instigate secession is fairly well documented.
I do agree that after the Dred Scott decision,there was little maneuver room left to stop the spiral to civil war.
The Crittenden Compromise,undertaken after some states had left the Union,was probably too little, too late.
Thanks for the discussion!
 
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#34
Well, for most northerners the war was never "about" the abolition of slavery. It was "about" the ending of secession. For the South, it was primarily "about" perceived threats (on the part of slave owners) to the very existence of slavery (along with a few other relatively insignificant points of disagreement). In the course of the war, emancipation came to be recognized as the most powerful weapon in ending secession. It was also the only redeeming factor in the whole bloody, destructive mess.
Agreed.It was a devastating lesson learned!
Thanks for the discussion!
 
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#35
Welcome.

I think the Civil War has something important in common with World War 1: leading up to the war compromises were made which fostered lasting resentment and regret on both sides. Many came to believe compromise was weakness and a mistake.

But in the US all the compromises hinged on the same issue: slavery.
Certainly it was slavery for the politicians and the wealthy planters. The common man and the youth paid the price.
Edited.
 
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#36
I have always believed that the war was mainly a result of the seeds of extreme partisanship,lack of respect and refusal to compromise.To blame the justifying cause ie: slavery,states rights,territorial expansion, tariffs,etc.misses the point. Agitation and extremism became more and more commonplace and became fertile ground for revolution.
One can track these issues through the number of compromises attempted by the Congress's of the 1830s,40s and early 1850s, coming to a crescendo with the savage beating of Senator Edwin Sumner by Preston Brookes on the Senate floor,while armed parisan Senate members prevented collegues from coming to his aid.
Edited.
If we think that we have "progressed" beyond the point of discussion about that type of insidious partisanship and hate,time will most assuredly tell.
The senator beaten on the Senate floor was indeed Charles Sumner not Edwin
I have always believed that the war was mainly a result of the seeds of extreme partisanship,lack of respect and refusal to compromise.To blame the justifying cause ie: slavery,states rights,territorial expansion, tariffs,etc.misses the point. Agitation and extremism became more and more commonplace and became fertile ground for revolution.
One can track these issues through the number of compromises attempted by the Congress's of the 1830s,40s and early 1850s, coming to a crescendo with the savage beating of Senator Edwin Sumner by Preston Brookes on the Senate floor,while armed parisan Senate members prevented collegues from coming to his aid.
Edited.
If we think that we have "progressed" beyond the point of discussion about that type of insidious partisanship and hate,time will most assuredly tell.
 
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#37
I have always believed that the war was mainly a result of the seeds of extreme partisanship,lack of respect and refusal to compromise.To blame the justifying cause ie: slavery,states rights,territorial expansion, tariffs,etc.misses the point. Agitation and extremism became more and more commonplace and became fertile ground for revolution.
One can track these issues through the number of compromises attempted by the Congress's of the 1830s,40s and early 1850s, coming to a crescendo with the savage beating of Senator Edwin Sumner by Preston Brookes on the Senate floor,while armed parisan Senate members prevented collegues from coming to his aid.
Edited.
If we think that we have "progressed" beyond the point of discussion about that type of insidious partisanship and hate,time will most assuredly tell.
I believe that was Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.
https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/artifact/Painting_32_00016.htm

Yes, correct Charles Sumner. Edwin " Bull" Sumner was a Union general.

Can't argue with that point.

Sir Winston Churchill's quote regarding fail to learn from history comes to mind.
 
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#38
I would add that for most(?) northerners of the time, the preservation of the Union was a great outcome. As the historian Gary Gallagher has noted, most people today don't understand or don't get the importance of "Union" to contemporary Northerners, but it was a big deal to them, in his opinion.
Perfect point!
 


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